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No single question in the survey received a stronger level of agreement than this one. When asked if having a diverse team is a benefit to company performance, almost 90% of respondents agree. If the European tech ecosystem wants to achieve its full potential, then diversity and inclusion has to be at its core.

Having a diverse team is a benefit to company performance

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  • Agree
  • Neither agree nor disagree
  • Disagree

Diverse teams are better for business, and better for creativity.

Diversity is one of our core values. It’s vital to our business and has been embedded from the beginning. Diverse teams are better for business, and better for creativity.

Pip Jamieson

The Dots

The European tech community is dominated by men. Women account for just 22% of participants in tech-related Meetup events in the region. Notably, the industry is failing to make any meaningful progress, having seen an increase of just a single percentage point in the level of female participation at European tech community events in the past two years.

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  • Total in Europe (%)
Note:
% of the reported gender of attendees only.

The gender imbalance of the tech communities within different countries follows the European-wide picture, though there are leaders and laggards. The top 10 countries for female participation at tech-related Meetup events across the region is dominated by countries from Eastern Europe, though it should be noted that female participation in the number one country, Albania, only reaches 33%.

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  • 2018
Note:
% of the reported gender of attendees only. Only countries with 100+ reported female attendees included.

We found only 1 female CTO out of 175 CTOs that work at VC-backed European tech companies that raised a Series A or Series B in the past year.

Gender composition by job title for Executive-level positions of selected European Series A and B venture-backed companies

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  • Female
  • Male
Note:
Based on a sample of executives in CxO positions at 270 European VC-backed tech companies that raised a Series A or B round between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018.

The 'class of 2018' of VC-backed European tech companies shows no improvement compared to similar analysis from 2017.

Share of women by position of senior leaders and founders of selected European Series A and B venture-backed companies (2018 versus 2017)

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  • 2017
  • 2018
Note:
Based on a sample of Founders and executives in CxO positions at 270 European VC-backed tech companies that raised a Series A or B round between 1 October 2017 and 30 September 2018. 2017 data is based on a similar sample.

Europe is not necessarily tangibly better or worse than other tech hubs – however, given that Europe is such a diverse range of geographies and people this should be a key strength.

Lack of diversity is driven by a combination of factors that affect the pipeline of talent in STEM subjects, the availability of diverse role models, access to expertise and capital, social mobility and a range of other issues. Europe is not necessarily tangibly better or worse than other tech hubs – however, given that Europe is such a diverse range of geographies and people this should be a key strength. I am encouraged to see the subject of diversity and inclusion appear on the agenda of more tech companies and more VCs over the last 12 months and to see so many funds participating in initiatives led by Diversity VC and others. I hope that this translates to sustained and impactful change – the first step though is understanding the situation as it is today, which is why Atomico’s commitment to this subject is so encouraging.

Check Warner

Diversity VC

The European tech industry's lack of diversity could not be more stark when it comes to how funding is allocated in the region. It is arresting to see that all-male founding teams receive 93% of the capital invested and account for 85% of deals. It is even more stark to see that these shares have not changed in the last years.

Capital raised and # of deals by founding team gender (%)

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  • Male
  • Female
  • Mixed

There is shocking imbalance in the flow of capital to male versus female founders.

Funding diversity

93%
of all funds raised by European VC-backed companies in 2018 went to all-male founding teams.

The importance of diversity and inclusion has unquestionably gained an elevated prominence in the news narrative around the tech industry in Europe. But the level of discussion around this topic pales into insignificance relative to other core tech topics. In fact, in the past year, there have been more articles devoted to discussion of crypto than to diversity and inclusion in Europe. We have an opportunity to shine a much brighter spotlight on the problem.

Share of total tech news narrative by topic area and region

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  • European news sources
  • US news sources
Note:
Based on ~3,000 stories across 843 European news sources (primarily UK focused) and ~2,700 stories across 1,103 US news sources from Septemeber 2017 to September 2018.
But the reality is that coverage of diversity and inclusion is swamped by coverage of fundraising stories, which account for the overwhelmingly largest share of all tech-related European news articles.
Diversity and inclusion has become a topic of focus in European tech-related news articles in 2018.

Compared to other tech-related topics that gain large amounts of coverage in European news sources, it is notable that articles related to diversity and inclusion are more likely to be led by a negative sentiment.

Share of total stories per topic by sentiment summary

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  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Negative
Note:
Based on ~3,000 stories across 843 European news sources (primarily UK focused) from Septemeber 2017 to September 2018.

Many stories on diversity and inclusion have a negative sentiment and they are more likely to drive more engagement on social media. In fact, news articles related to diversity and inclusion that are classified with a negative sentiment drive 42% of all social engagement around the topic as a whole, despite those same stories accounting for just 11% of everything written on the topic. Are we sending enough positive messages to underrepresented communities to join the tech industry, or are we in danger of further reinforcing the deeply entrenched stereotypes that have made tech so unwelcoming to these groups?

Share of total social engagement per topic by sentiment summary

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  • Positive
  • Neutral
  • Negative
Note:
Based on ~3,000 stories across 843 European news sources (primarily UK focused) from Septemeber 2017 to September 2018.

Interestingly, the reporting we do see on diversity and inclusion in tech in European news sources is driven by US tech companies. There’s a huge vacuum of European voices stepping into the discussion. We all have a responsibility to do and say much more.

Top 10 most discussed companies in European news stories focused on diversity and inclusion in the tech industry

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  • # of mentions
Note:
Based on ~3,000 stories across 843 European news sources, primarily UK focused, from September 2017 to September 2018.

The entire ecosystem as a whole needs to challenge itself to make concrete commitments and change.

Europe’s VC industry is missing out on returns because we are lacking in diversity. Startups are missing out on performance because they lack diversity. That means both diversity in our teams and the founders that we back. This means diversity not just of gender, but in terms of background, race, ethnicity, physical and cognitive differences. The entire ecosystem as a whole needs to challenge itself to make concrete commitments and change.

Niklas Zennström

Atomico